Tuesday, July 6, 2010
3rd UPDATE: Leading Retailers Eye Carrefour SE Asia Assets - Sources
SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)--Leading supermarket chains are interested in the assets of French hypermarket Carrefour SA (CA.FR) in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, two people with direct knowledge of the deal said Tuesday.
"It's the big boys that are interested. Big C Supercenter PCL (BIGC.TH) and Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) for the Thai assets; Tesco, Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd.(D01.SG) and Japanese supermarkets for the Malaysia stores, and Tesco for Singapore," one of those people told Dow Jones Newswires.
A second person said if a single buyer emerges for all three countries "the deal will probably be wrapped up this year. If not, it could take a bit longer."A second person said if a single buyer emerges for all three countries "the deal will probably be wrapped up this year. If not, it could take a bit longer."
A third person said Monday that Carrefour was in the early stages of selling its stores in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia and that if the sale goes through it could fetch the French retail giant up to US$1 billion.
Carrefour, Tesco, Dairy Farm and Big C all declined to comment.
A spokesman for Japanese supermarket AEON Co. Ltd (8267.TO)--which has bought the Japan assets of Carrefour--said he hasn't heard about any deal and had no further comment to make. An official from AEON's Malaysia unit declined to comment.
Carrefour Chief Executive Lars Olofsson in May said he was open to offers for the company's operations in markets where it isn't in the top two. Analysts have cited Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as likely candidates.
Under Olofsson's direction, Carrefour has focused efforts on its key European markets of France, Spain, Italy and Belgium, where weak consumption is hurting business. France alone accounts for nearly half of the company's annual revenue.
-By P.R. Venkat and Costas Paris, Dow Jones Newswires; 65 6415 4151; firstname.lastname@example.org
(Kenneth Maxwell and Jamie Miyazaki in Tokyo, Lee Kwan-Por in Kuala Lumpur, Phisanu Phromchanya in Bangkok, Kazuhiro Shimamura in Tokyo and Simon Zekaria in London contributed to this article.)